January 1, 2001

January 2001

(Most of the pictures below were taken with a video camera, so they aren’t as sharp as they could be.)

Through December and January I began to identify problems and take things apart. First mistake: Don’t take it apart if you don’t know how long it will take to put it back together! This would become a theme for this entire project. While I don’t consider myself a perfectionist, I do have have trouble tolerating things like chunks of peeling paint.

I began by removing the wood trim and stripping everything. Some parts needed repair, so I took the opportunity to learn how to work with epoxy and fillers. Soon it became apparent that the nicely varnished trim would make the peeling paint look even worse. I had been telling myself that I didn’t really need to sand and paint the interior – that was just a cosmetic problem. Unfortunately, I didn’t convince myself, and soon I was applying stripper (it was too cold!) and sanding the interior.

Here’s some of the other tasks I tackled. I found a nifty product from 3M to remove vinyl letters. Worked like a charm. The new name of the boat changed several times, but eventually we settled on Tikvah. That’s Hebrew for “Hope”, and that’s the middle name of one of my children.

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I made several attempts to take out the set screws from the drive shaft coupling. You can see how rusty everything in that area is – even the surveyor commented on the rusty transmission. I think there were two culprits: a faulty anti-siphon vent on the exhaust (it had been replaced with a solid hose by the time I got the boat) and a leaky cockpit hatch. The cockpit hatch was a larger than the standard bronze deck port, but it was just a rectangle of plastic held in place by gravity. That would go later on, and the bronze drive shaft would be cut to remove the drive shaft, stuffing box and cutless bearing (as Bill Bell, founder of the New England Triton Association predicted).

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More deconstruction followed. I hoped to refinish the coamings, but I feared they were too thin and old. I later had a carpenter build new coamings and grab rails for me. Here’s some pix of the cockpit after the coamings came off – oh, and the winch stands were rotten and had to come off, too. That was fun (not).

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Might-as-well-itis: the affliction of not knowing when to stop; continuing down a questionable path because you “might as well since you’ve already” (fill in the blank). As I began sanding the interior, I removed the ports because the opening ports leaked and needed other repairs. Then the fixed ports came off, too. By this time I had already removed the stanchions, the grab rails and other deck hardware. Where would it end?

Here’s a few more interior shot so you can see the peeling, chipping paint that was causing me to take apart the boat:

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Before the sanding began in earnest, I removed the woodgrain formica covering the salon bulkheads. It had been painted white and looked dreadful.

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Removing the chainplates took a while. One of the bigger challenges was where someone had put in nice, thick plywood backing plates for the stanchions, but hadn’t left enough room to remove the chainplate bolts! My mantra while reconstructing the boat will be: make sure you can take it apart to repair it! That’s one of the things that I believe makes Tritons attractive to do-it-yourselfers. Maybe the inch-thick hull has something to do with that, too. I got a sawz-all to cut this bronze chainplate bolt and the skinny little fiberglass tube coming out of the water tank. Tikvah 01 2001 4.jpg (251167 bytes)

I would later put a nylon through-hull fitting in the water tank after
cutting a hole for an inspection port. Did you know that some Tritons (all?) have a divider in the water tank? I didn’t, but since the tabbing holding it in place had broken away, and since the divider was covered in mold, I broke it up and took it out. Maybe putting a flexible tank in there would work . . .

Tikvah 01 2001 54.jpg (242439 bytes)In the middle of winter in the Northeast most stuff is too frozen to emit odors. After the gas smell dissipated (just before the survey the carburetor on the A4 was gushing gas) I did smell something that wasn’t right, but I couldn’t find the source. As the weather began to warm, the odors became stronger, and they were coming from the head. The head, associated hoses and holding tank (of course it wasn’t empty!) came out. Eventually the smell went away. A composting head will be installed soon.

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Next: Lots of Grinding and a Little Paint